Characters: Zero, Cass, Wyatt and Jeb Cain and OCs.
Disclaimer: I don't claim to own anything.
Summary: Things go from bad to worse.
"Stolzoff! Stolzoff!" Cain shouted down the phone. There was no response. Pulling out their weapons, the three men ran down the halls to their last location. Wyatt burst through the doors, immediately spotting Stolzoff on the ground, her lifeless eyes staring up at him. Jeb and Zero were arriving by the time Wyatt moved over to Pechetti. He felt for a pulse that was not there. "He's dead," he told them, his voice hard as granite.
By the time, Cass, Burke and Amaro arrived, the bodies were lined up, cloths covering their bodies. "The Longcoats must have surprised them," Burke quivered. "They're probably tracking us."
Zero went to his side to calm him. Burke looked up at him anxiously. "Take it easy," Zero told him quietly. "We're gonna get out of here. Count on it. But we gotta stay focused. Ok, looks like we got enough stuff here to start that fire. Let's, uh, gather this stuff here. Bring it down to the main lounge." He looked back down at Burke. "Have you and Cass gotten the stuff you need?"
"Almost..." Burke replied, trying to get back to himself.
"Ok. You'd better get back to that."
"We're going to split up?" Burke's panic shaking loose again.
"We've got to," Zero replied, not unsympathically. "We don't send out a signal, we'll never get out of here."
Cass slipped a hand on Burke's shoulder. "I need you, Burke. You can do this."
"Don't worry," Amaro spoke up from his place by the doors. "I'll watch your back."
"Stolzoff was supposed to be watching Pechetti
's back! Look what happened to them!"
"I've got magic."
"Look, what about Cain go with you? Would that make you feel better?" Zero asked.
Burke looked over at the former Tin Man and nodded. "That's very flattering. But I'm afraid I've got other plans."
"Like what?" Zero didn't bother hiding his irritation.
"I don't intend to stand around waiting around to be killed," he replied, determined.
, I'm going to find
those two Longcoats... and neutralise
them. Besides, all this whining is giving me a headache," he added, checking the chambers on his gun.
"Look, Dad. I know you feel responsible... but you gotta make sure the rest of us are going to be ok."
," Wyatt snarled.
"Let him go," Zero told Jeb. Jeb looked at him in surprise. "If he thinks he can 'neutralise' the Longcoats, let 'im try. He'll be doing all of us a favour."
"That's the spirit!" Wyatt remarked with a smirk. "Why don't you come with me, Zero?" Zero stared at him. "It'd be like old times. Wouldn't you like to avenge their deaths?"
"No... I just wanna get everybody home."
"You're fighting your instincts, I can see it," Wyatt insisted. "The General is still in there somewhere."
Zero's face stiffened. "If you're going to go, go." Wyatt hesitated before moving off. "Jeb, you go with them."
Jeb realised that that would leave Zero on his own, but also that he was trying to do for Burke. "Ok."
Burke waved it off. "It's all right, sir. He can stay with you. For some reason, knowing Wyatt's going after them makes me feel a little better." That's true at least.
Wyatt looked through the armoury for possible other weapons. Unfortunately, the weapon he desired was in a brilliantly locked cabinet. He grabbed a hammer and was working on it when he sensed something. He continued banging but listened intently.
The Longcoat slipped through the shadows, stopping as he heard Wyatt's hammer. Wyatt made a loud sigh of frustration. The Longcoat steathily made his way through the room towards the sound. He positioned himself at the nearest entrance. Preparing himself he swung to face... nobody. The hammer was on the floor. He stepped closer, to ensure that the room was in fact empty and to ascertain where Wyatt had disappeared to. He stepped by an cupboard. The cupboard doors swung open and Wyatt jumped out. "Looking for me?" he fired.
The body fell to the floor dead. Wyatt smiled in triumph. "That... felt good," he said, almost surprised.
"I wonder what's got into Dad," Jeb remarked to Zero as the fire began to take shape.
"He's turned into a soldier," Zero muttered back. "Soldier's gotta kill sometimes. You know that. I know that."
"Now don't be so modest, Zero!" Wyatt remarked, causing Jeb to jump at his sudden appearance. "You did a lot of killing."
"How did you get in here?" Jeb asked. "Both doors are secure..."
"'Secure' is such a relative term, son," he responded, pushing the tip of Jeb's rifle so it was no longer pointed at him. "If you don't mind." He pulled something out of his pocket. "I've brought you something." He tossed Zero a Third Battalion badge.
"Where'd you get this?" he asked.
"From its former owner."
"You killed one of the Longcoats?" Jeb asked, excited, despite this disturbing turn from his father.
"One down, one to go. By the way," he added to Zero. "My charm turned black as I approached the Longcoat. Looks like he was cursed or something."
"Why?" Zero asked.
"I dunno, but it sure wasn't to improve his people skills. Looks like it was designed to increase paranoia and agression. My guess is that they were left here, some kind of Longcoat experiment. The Sorceress must have been looking for a way to further
motivate her troops."
This made Zero swallow. "I'm so
glad you overthrew her." He gave him a thumbs up. "They, uh, must have been a bit difficult to control. Probably why they were left here."
Wyatt shrugged. "Well, you can 'hypothesize' all you want," he told them, checking his gun. "But once I got my mind on a task, I don't like to leave undone." Zero got up close to him, causing Wyatt to look. "What is it, Zero?"
"You, uh... look different."
"Like uh... not a Tin Man."
a Tin Man," he replied. He smiled in an attempt to reassure them. "Not for the moment, anyway." He doffed his hat and disappeared. Zero looked at Jeb, registering the same worry in his eyes.
"Well, I feel better," Burke remarked, after they got the news from Zero. "You know, I would have thought your brother would have been the one to go after the Longcoats. Who would have thought that the Tin Man would be such a killer?"
"Not me," Cass murmured to herself.
"Do you think he'll get the other Longcoat?"
"I hope not," Amaro replied. "I want to get him myself. Stolzoff was my friend."
Cass straightened and looked into the shadows. "You may get your chance," she murmured. Spotted the Longcoat revealed himself, only to have Cass shoot an energy bolt at him. The Longcoat reeled but the majority of the bolt ricocheted off him and back into her, throwing her off the ground and flying to the nearest wall. She fell to the ground, unconscious.
Amaro reeled at the backwash, but the only sound he heard was the sickening sound of a neck being snapped. By the time he managed to gather himself, he found Burke falling out of the grips of the Longcoat, whose weapon is trained unwaveringly on him. Burke was dead and Amaro was sure to follow.
He flinched as a gunshot rang out. But opening his eyes, he saw the Longcoat's face contorted in surprise. He fell to the ground, revealing Wyatt. Amaro smiled at him, breathing a sigh of relief. "He had me," he confessed. Tearing his eyes away from Burke, he moved towards Cass. "Apparently, magic doesn't work so well with these guys," he said.
Wyatt stepped up beside him as he felt for her pulse. "She's alive. But I guess this means we're going to be staying here awhile."
Wyatt shrugged pulling out a knife and looking at it. "I'm starting to like this place."
Amaro straightened at this, looking at him as if he'd gone crazy. Before he could comment, Wyatt shoved the knife's business end directly into his gut. Amaro's eyes widened, in pain, in shock and in disbelief before he crumpled to the ground. Wyatt looked down at Cass. Deciding that she'd be more fun to deal with later, he disappeared into the shadows.Showdown